No point in beating around the bush: be they buyers or sellers, people are interested in the “market price” for Blue Note records. Whilst there are several services that can be of help, such as Popsike and Goldmine, there is to my mind an absence of targetted analysis of the collectability of specific artists. Enter LJC, with a little help from the Jazz Collector Price Guide extracted and analysed uniquely by LJC.
Auction outcomes included in the Jazz Collector Price Guide do not claim to be comprehensive but include the outcome of premium auctions on Ebay of original vintage collectable Blue Notes, mainly Ex or Mint- condition and exclude later US and Japanese reissues or modern audiophile, and records in lesser condition, all of which which render Popsike calculated averages unhelpful. The result is an analysis here of 1,760 premium Blue Note auctions, with an average auction price of $546
Auctions are subject to the vissicitudes of human desire and competition, so it is always instructive to consider the average sale price as a baseline rather than the highest sale price. It is also worth remembering that Ebay database sources are not corrected for retracted and fraudulent sales. The gigantic scam by disgraced Ebay seller Nautiluso are still reflected in published auction results.
Students of politics and economics may also take comfort from the fact many of the highest priced rare and desirable records figure among those changing hands most often. Its called Supply and Demand. Nobody has yet come up with a better system for allocation of scarce resources that doesn’t involve redistribution of Mobley 1568’s to The Poor, or all being owned by relatives of the leader or members of The Ruling Party.
I don’t value them enough to put this much money on the table, but I respect a system that would allow me to, if I did.
My thanks to Jazz Collector for the valuable work they do and excellent forum they provide, which was the original inspiration for my own site.What appears below is an original “value-added” statistical analysis of their price guide, not something that appears on their site. (We don’t do plagiarism around here, unlike most of the internet).
1. Top Ten Blue Note Artists commanding the highest maximum price at auction (all titles)
|Artist||Number of Auctions||Highest Price (USD)||Average Price (USD)|
2. Top Ten Blue Note Artists ranked by average price at auctions (all titles)
|Artist||Number of auctions||Highest Price (USD)||Average Price (USD)|
3. Top Ten most valuable Blue Note records at auction (specific titles)
|Blue Note||Title||Count of Auctions||Maximum Price USD||Average Price USD|
|1530||With Zoot Sims||16||3,650||1,853|
|1557||Volume 3 Lee Morgan||12||3,000||1,296|
|1538||Lee Morgan Indeed!||18||2,927||1,386|
For the individual Blue Note title results, go here.
Question to LJC readers: What is the most you have ever spent on a record? Own up. No one will know, apart from us.
Postscript – trends in auction values
This analysis makes no claim as to accuracy other than on an “as found” basis.
|Average Auction price (USD)|
|BN label/ Year||2009||2010||2011||2012||2013|
|Auction price % change year on year|
|based on analysis of 704 auctions 2009-13|
Analysts disclaimer – value of Blue Note records in future years may go up or down. The only thing you are guaranteed is great sounding music. And that is indeed an excellent return.
Postscript 2: Caution!
Digging more into the data (thanks DaveS) I am reminded of the story used in the training of statisticians: it is quite easy to calculate the average income of fifty ordinary people seated in a bus. The problem starts when Microsoft founder Bill Gates gets on the bus…
Having cross-checked the Jazz Collector database with Popsike, there are common auction records, which is good and gives confidence in the underlying data. However there are some very freaky auction results in the real world, the equivalent of Bill Gates getting on the bus, outliers, which have a disproportionate effect on average values. In particular, there are two particular record auction results in that are interesting in their own right.
BN 1577 Coltrane Blue Train auctions go bat-shit crazy if the seller mentions the presence of the mythic NY 23 variation on one side of the label, or claim that it is near-mint “looks hardly played” and the killer “nearly impossible to find in this shape” . This copy broke all records for Blue Train: $3,000 !
The other noted was one auction of BN 4163 Dolphy’s Out To Lunch, unremarkable in itself, which netted three times more than the next highest auction price – $1524 compared to $588. What gives? Hormones or fraud, who knows?
It is normal practice to trim outliers to get a better feeling for the trend in the “normal” range, but I will call a halt at this point, and stop torturing the data.
The issue raised by DaveS identifies auctions for records that are second or subsequent pressings, where the first pressing would command a higher price. Around 10% of NY label auctions are for records whose first press was on an earlier label. around 4% of auctions with W63rd labels are similarly placed. (Are you still awake at the back?) This seems to be a routine feature of auctions from one year to another, and not something that explains trends.
Gosh this has been interesting getting under the skin of these auctions.